Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Leal v. Holtvogt case brief

Leal v. Holtvogt case brief summary
702 N.E.2d 1246 (Ohio 1998)

Appellant sellers sought review of a judgment of the Miami County (Ohio) Common Pleas Court, awarding compensatory damages to appellee buyers for negligent misrepresentation in action arising out of sale of half interest in horse. Buyers cross-appealed the award of compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney fees to sellers based on expenses from partnership and buyers' slander per se.


  • The court found that the sellers' concealment of the horse's lameness before the sale did not support a claim of negligent misrepresentation because it was not an affirmative false statement, but that the sellers negligently misrepresented that the horse was fit to be shown and breached an implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. 
  • The trial court's decision to hold the buyers harmless for expenses incurred under the partnership was not error because the sellers should not recover costs incurred under a partnership which the sellers misled the buyers into entering. 
  • The trial court erred in awarding $16,000 to buyers because that determination did not return the parties to the positions they occupied before the agreement. 
  • Although the trial court mischaracterized the sellers' failure to disclose the horse's chronic lameness as negligent misrepresentation, when it constituted fraud, the buyers did not suffer adverse consequences because the remedy of rescission gave them everything to which they were entitled. 
  • Because the buyers' statements constituted slander per se, and as actual malice was demonstrated, the award of punitive damages was not error.

The court affirmed in part and reversed in part, remanding for further proceedings for recomputation of damages.

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